Introduction to Edge Computing
Edge computing is a relatively new concept that can revolutionize network infrastructure across an assortment of industries.
Many companies are already exploring how this innovative architecture varies from more conventional cloud deployments to better understand how their business can benefit from moving to the edge.
In superficial terms, edge computing forces data processing away from a centralized server and closer to the outer “edge” of the network where most data is generated and compiled. Unlike traditional cloud deployments in which data is collected and transmitted to a central server for analysis, edge networks keep that data on the periphery, analyzing and applying it closer to the source.
Edge computing deployments are often part of a wider fog computing architecture, which uses localized data centers as “fog nodes” to extend the reach of a cloud network. When data is collected, these nodes determine whether it should be sent back to the central server for processing or processed locally. This gatekeeping process helps to streamline network performance, ensuring that local devices can analyze and apply data more quickly while regulating the amount of bandwidth traffic flowing to and from the core of the network.
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Advantages of Edge Computing
Since edge computing locates processing tasks closer to the edge of the network where data is gathered, it reduces the physical distance data has to travel. Contrary to popular belief, data does not move from point to point instantaneously. Latency, or the time it takes for data to move from its point of origin to its destination, results in slow network performance, which can be devastating for many services. By pushing processing tasks closer to the outskirts of the network, edge computing can cut down on latency and reduce the volume of data traffic that consumes limited bandwidth to deliver better, smoother network performance.
Fast and Efficient
Edge computing can cut down on latency and reduce the volume of data traffic that consumes limited bandwidth to deliver better, smoother network performance.
Edge computing infrastructure offers tremendous flexibility, allowing companies to integrate and connect systems that could not otherwise communicate over a traditional cloud network. As innovative new technologies in the automotive, healthcare, and manufacturing industries present new opportunities, edge computing provides a way of reducing or even eliminating incompatibility issues that might have previously constrained them. Ambitious companies are already exploring ways to leverage edge architectures to integrate their systems in ways that offer better customer experiences and help them manage ever-increasing data streams.
By pushing processing functions closer to the edge of the network and offloading that data analysis to smart devices and smaller data center facilities, companies can rapidly scale operations more effectively than ever before. Instead of making huge investments in cloud infrastructure, edge computing allows them to add new computing and storage resources organically and as needed. This can help to eliminate the inefficiencies that often result from less targeted data infrastructure growth.
Centralized networks always present a risk for organizations that provide extensive online services. If the servers go down, the entire network goes offline with them. The distributed nature of edge computing networks, however, makes it possible for data collection and processing to carry on even if the core of the network goes down. Devices can continue to function, diverting critical processing operations to alternative destinations and storing other data locally until the primary servers are back online. Even if a cyberattack compromises a component of an edge network, the distributed nature of the system makes it possible to isolate the breach quickly before the infection can spread.
Even if a cyberattack compromises a component of an edge network, the distributed nature of the system makes it possible to isolate the breach quickly before the infection can spread.
Whether it’s startups hoping to rapidly scale their computing resources or established companies building improved customer experiences, edge computing offers substantial benefits to organizations hoping to capitalize on opportunities in emerging markets. With more devices leveraging internet connectivity and demand for streaming content on the rise, companies need to position their networks to deliver faster services that can keep pace with the economy of the future. Edge computing’s ability to enhance performance and flexibility makes it a natural fit for companies looking to expand network reach and locate services closer to their customers.
What Makes an Edge Data Center?
The popularity of edge computing has led to the development of data centers capable of providing the services these networks need to maximize their potential. While there is no definitive definition of an edge data center, they tend to be smaller facilities that allow companies to provide cloud computing and streaming content to local end users with reduced latency.
There are a few qualities organizations should look for to distinguish an edge data center from a more traditional enterprise-level data center:
- It primarily services local markets: Edge data centers should be located near end users who are utilizing its services on a regular basis.
- It’s part of a broader network: An edge facility is typically connected to a larger data center that provides more robust cloud resources and extensive storage capacity. It may also be integrated into a network of several edge facilities, each one capable of storing and caching data to server end users more effectively.
- It delivers fast services: Speed is the primary asset of an edge data center, made possible by delivering services to users with minimal latency.
- It’s not a hyper-scale facility: Edge facilities tend to be smaller and more focused on delivering services and content rather than the data storage and big data functions of enterprise-level hyper-scale facilities.
- It has high uptime reliability: Since they deliver substantial content and services to local users, edge facilities should offer at least 99.99% uptime guarantees.
Edge Data Centers On The Rise
The popularity of edge computing has led to the development of data centers capable of providing the services these networks need to maximize their potential.
Edge Computing and the Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the major benefits of edge computing is that it allows companies to realize the potential of the internet of things (IoT). An IoT device is any network-enabled product that can generate and receive data. Advancements in processor and memory miniaturization have made it possible for them to analyze and store data far more effectively than ever before. Combined with edge computing architectures, IoT devices are already transforming the IT landscape:
- There will be 20.4 billion IoT devices by 2020
- By 2020, 90% of automobiles will be connected to the internet
- Companies will invest $15 trillion in IoT between 2017 and 2025
- Every second, another 127 devices are connected to the internet
- Industrial IoT devices are expected to add $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030
IOT Market Growth
One of the major benefits of edge computing is that it allows companies to realize the potential of the internet of things (IoT). The IoT market is expected to grow significantly in the next few years, with manufacturing, transportation, and utilities likely to see the biggest benefits.
The IoT market is expected to grow significantly in the next few years, with manufacturing, transportation, and utilities likely to see the biggest benefits. Commerce has already been transformed by IoT devices, offering greatly improved customer experiences and helping people make purchasing decisions more efficiently. Smart IoT devices can also deliver clear benefits to organizations, generating data that will allow them to deliver better products, services, and experiences. Remote monitoring, predictive analytics, and automated maintenance will make it easier than ever for manufacturers to optimize their products and build brand loyalty.
Advancements in processor and memory miniaturization have made it possible for them to analyze and store data far more effectively than ever before.
Innovations in IoT devices will also allow companies to maximize efficiency and flexibility in their fulfillment process and supply chain. Whether it’s the implementation of sensor-equipped manufacturing equipment or RFID-tagged products, IoT and edge computing will make it easier than ever to identify inefficiencies, reduce waste, and deliver enhanced services to customers with a greater level of transparency.
Potential Use Cases for Edge Computing and IoT
Self-driving vehicles are inching closer to reality every year, promising to bring massive amounts of data (at least 30 terabytes a day) with them. Edge computing architecture will be crucial to managing this data, as well as facilitating the vital machine-to-machine (M2M) communication necessary to keep vehicles apprised of potential hazards and other driving conditions. Many cities are already incorporating the principles of edge computing to prepare for the coming driverless future, transforming into “smart cities” with the potential to enhance all forms of network connectivity.
Edge Computing for the Future
Edge computing architecture will be crucial to managing this data, as well as facilitating the vital machine-to-machine (M2M) communication necessary to keep vehicles apprised of potential hazards and other driving conditions.
With the development of 5G technology to provide faster connection speeds than ever before, mobile networks are helping to make IoT devices and edge computing even more effective. From augmented reality programs that have the potential to enhance consumer experiences and industrial applications to secure edge gateways that provide far more effective protection against cyber attacks, the telecom industry is already working to capitalize on the opportunities these innovations present.
Complex interconnected systems have always made it difficult for the manufacturing industry to deploy the latest technology to enhance productivity and efficiency. Armed with edge computing and IoT devices, however, they now have the ability to create more streamlined networks that make it easier to manage supply chains and streamline industrial processes. Decentralized IT architecture powered by edge computing applications will allow startups to get underway faster and help established companies to expand operations and access new markets.
Moving Industries Forward
Decentralized IT architecture powered by edge computing applications will allow manufacturing startups to get underway faster and help established companies to expand operations and access new markets.
Connectivity and data security challenges have long combined to form a significant obstacle for the healthcare industry to overcome. With IoT devices powered by edge computing, medical professionals now have the ability to gather and process data more effectively, reach patients in areas with limited network access, and streamline their supply chains. These innovative solutions will also make it possible to offer improved patient experiences and deliver significant cost savings through productivity and efficiency gains.
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The Future is on the Edge
As IoT devices become more common and customers demand faster, more streamlined services, organizations have a vested interest in shifting data processing to the edge of their network infrastructure. By doing so, they can deliver services faster and maximize the effectiveness of their IoT-enabled products.
For fast-growing companies, a good edge computing strategy can help them grow quickly and reach their customers more effectively.
Larger organizations can protect their brands and secure the loyalty of their customers by providing lightning-fast, flexible services with edge computing strategies. As edge architectures become more widespread, edge data centers will continue to play a crucial role in expanding network reach and streamlining complex IT deployments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is edge computing?
Answer: Edge computing refers to the concept of processing data on devices or at the edge of a network, rather than in a centralized location such as a data center.
Question: Why is edge computing important?
Answer: Edge computing is important because it allows for faster processing and decision-making by bringing computing resources closer to where data is generated. This can reduce latency and improve the performance of applications such as IoT, AR/VR, and real-time analytics.
Question: How does edge computing differ from cloud computing?
Answer: Edge computing differs from cloud computing in that data is processed on devices or at the edge of a network, rather than in a centralized cloud-based location. Edge computing also allows for more autonomy and control over data processing and decision-making.
Question: What are the advantages of edge computing?
Answer: Advantages of edge computing include reduced latency, improved data security, and reduced reliance on centralized infrastructure.
Question: What are some common use cases for edge computing?
Answer: Common use cases for edge computing include IoT, real-time analytics, AR/VR, and autonomous vehicles.
Question: How does edge computing impact data security?
Answer: Edge computing can improve data security by allowing for more localized control over data processing and decision-making. Additionally, processing data closer to the source can reduce the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.
Question: How can I implement and maintain an edge computing infrastructure?
Answer: Implementing and maintaining an edge computing infrastructure will involve a combination of hardware and software solutions, as well as ongoing management and monitoring. It is important to work with experienced IT professionals to ensure that your edge computing infrastructure is properly configured, optimized, and maintained over time.